Saturday, July 30, 2011

Asulau Part Three

This whole post is about cooking. While living in Asulau, I shared food with the family I was staying with. It became clear that it was the women were left to cook and clean, while men tended the fields. Meals consisted of rice (from the family's rice paddies), cassava leaf, two minute noodles, chicken, and a meat which they told me was goat (I am skeptical). It came to my attention that although the family was generous with their food, it just lacked basic food groups, and that malnutrition in the country was related to both the unavailability of food, as well as poor education on food choices.
I should probably emphasize that I am back in Australia now and posting pics as I edit/review them.

Noni, 12, who cooked all the meals. I guess it is very much the roll of girls in the patriarchal Timorese society.
Food is cooked above a wood fire.
Cassava leaves are a staple diet in Timor, as well as most of the archipelago.
Dog keeping warm by the fire. Dog's are not kept as pets..

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Asulau Part Two

So, I guess this isn't really a post about Asulau as much as it is a post about water buffalos.. In Tetum, Water Buffalo is directly translated into cow rice, as they are made to work the rice paddies, and are a source of meat. Asulau is a rice and coffee farming area, meaning that they also farm buffalo. I decided to go for a walk down to the river (with the 30 children who were following the foreigner with a camera) around magic hour. The kids were desperate to get in the shot, so I have many photos of kids running up and smacking the water buffaloes on the arse, and trying to ride them (amongst other things too lewd to mention on this blog). Anyway, here are some pics!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Asulau Part One

I am just starting to edit some of the quieter images from Timor Leste. Working on one of my own projects involved me embedding myself into a small village a few kilometers west of Ermera. In the process, I lived with a Timorese family. They shared everything. They made sure I had a bed to sleep in, food to eat, access to boiled water, washing facilities, etc. No one else in the village spoke English, and toilet paper was no where to be found. It was the real experience.

In exchange for the families hospitality, I supplied a laptop so they (and the rest of the town) could watch DVDs, and was a celebrity photographer around the village. This was quiet challenging, as I generally hate set up photos, posed portraits, etc. I like to capture what is there and is natural, which becomes difficult when 6 children follow you down the road. Here are the most natural images I could find.
Bolonia, 9 (I think). One of the young girls in the family whom I lived with.
In a very patriarchal society women are left to cook, clean, bear children, etc. Nona, 12, sweeps the ground in the morning.
A young boy, party of my entourage of 30, joining me in a walk to the river.
A local boy joining me on my walk to the river.
Newly born twins in a traditional Timorese house.
It was rice season in the area. Fields are harvested and then burnt.
Martial arts are popular amongst young boys in Timor Leste. Karate, Taekwondo, as well as local styles are popular and clubs have been set up to accommodate it. 
I think I quickly became a bit of a distraction.
An old lady spreads coffee beans out with a stick in order to dry them. I am pretty sure this was just her personal stash. Everyone in Timor drinks coffee. I saw a father feeding his 3 or 4 year old coffee.
Dinner with Marcellina's family. I am not sure if there were just many under the one roof (It is common for Timorese women to have between 6 to 9 children, and I have heard stories of up to 17 in Dili), or if she had invited her extended family over for dinner with the foreigner.
I bought my laptop to Asulau as to upload images and back up memory. The village had different ideas. Every time I tried to work, I would develop and audience. At night, the village decided to have a screening of DVDs. at one time, there were 55 people in the room. The village's power supply consists of solar, which is generally enough to keep the lights running, but barely enough to fully charge a laptop. So they bought in two other car batteries (which the solar charge is stored in) from other houses to watch films.

More To Follow!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


East Timorese women on average give birth to between 6 and 8 children. Which means that when I go for a walk to the main road from where I am staying, I get chased by kids who scream "Malae Foto!" (Foreigner! Photo!) This is a small sample of what happens every day.
GNR soldiers were patrolling the beach near us. They made the mistake of leaving the beach when the children finished school. Kids chased the car and tried to hang on for the free lift up the road.

I took the photos of the floor because if my photo went to eyeline, then I would have been swamped by kids. I always feel like the Pied Piper of Hamelin in the sense that instead of a pipe, I have a camera.

Kids fighting to get into my photo.

Kids chasing my taxi as I was leaving Marinir/Beto Tasi

Grilled fish on the beach. I think they are about $2 each?

Coconut Beach from the taxi

Kids in Marinir on the way home

Sunset on the beach


My mate wanted to head to Bali for a while. I didn't. I have always judged people who go to Bali as Bintang shirt wearing, southern cross bearing, braided hair people. It was a fairly narrow minded point of view (but also fairly justified). The culture does exist, however, there is also an amazing service industry, beautiful landscapes, and amazing people. 
Merpati flight from Dili to Denpasar. Service was surprisingly good.

I took this while I was out on the piss. I think we were walking to KFC to eat a bucket of chicken. I think they were doing road works?

Graf which I can only assume reflects Westerners demands and Balinese service.

Cool Graf

Inside a Magic Mushroom street stall

Random guy playing guitar.

Old Mick Jagger looking Balinese guy who was getting foreigners to buy him drinks while he rocked out to the cover band who would break out into punk rock interpretations of songs by The Killers, RATM, etc.

Paddy's Bar, Kuta

Francesca, a 22 year old ladyboy from Borneo. Initially, she chased me down the streets trying to grab my penis. I later came across her later and made it clear I didn't want a massage or sex. We had a pretty interesting chat. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Futu Manu

Futu Manu (Literally 'Fighting Chicken' in Tetum), commonly known as cockfighting, is a common bloodsport throughout Timor Leste, and indeed, South East Asia. Men of all ages gather daily at the markets where they bring their finest fighting cocks. The majestic beasts are trained for months at a time to improve the strength of their legs, and their ability to outperform their opponent. They are quiet costly (about $50 USD). A fight can last seconds and always ends in a dead chicken. The body is then plucked and eaten.
Quiet often I have been stopped in the streets by men wanting me to photograph them with their prized fighting cock. Once the cock goes undefeated for two or three fights, it develops a reputation and can become quiet valuable.

Before the fight, small knifes are tied to the cock's legs.

Owner ties knives to the cocks legs.

Man betting on a cockfight.

The dying animal bleeds out. Although to many, it seems brutal, the beast actually dies fairly quickly.

The dying cock is placed in an empty drum as to not injure itself while thrashing about. This animal was fairly badly injured and passed away quickly and painlessly.